A rare portrait by celebrated painter Francis Bacon will go on auction this month at Sotheby’s London for the first time in the artwork’s history.
The auction for what was once the center painting will take place on June 29 at the London auction house, with experts estimating the piece could fetch up to £35 million ($42 million). “Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud” has been hidden from public view in a private art collection for the past 40 years, according to Sotheby’s, which will exhibit the painting the weekend before it goes to auction.
“Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud” (1964) will go on display at Sotheby’s before auction. Credit: Courtesy Sothebys
According to Bella Freud, fashion designer and daughter of Lucien Freud, the soured friendship between the two artists cast a long shadow. “Francis was clearly somebody who he adored and admired. And there weren’t many people my father talked about in that way,” Freud said in a news release. “The things he repeated about him were just dazzling, utterly disarming and breathtakingly wonderful, and silencing because of their brilliance. I imagine he must have missed that when he stopped being friendly with him.”
Update: A previous version of this article stated that Bacon’s “Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud” was part of a triptych. The story has been updated to reflect the painting was only briefly intended to become part of a triptych. Within a year of finishing the three works the artist changed his mind and numbered each painting as individual pieces.